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Posted at 4:22 p.m. EST Tuesday, January 23, 2001

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Environmental group urges Boy Scouts to stop selling beryllium rings

CLEVELAND (AP) -- An environmental group on Tuesday urged the Boy Scouts of America to stop selling rings made of beryllium, a metal that can cause serious health problems for workers during production.

Ohio Citizen Action also asked the Boy Scouts of America to recall the Eagle Scout ring and any other jewelry made with beryllium.

``Beryllium is a deadly metal. It should not be used to manufacture jewelry,'' said Amy Ryder, director of Ohio Citizen Action's Cleveland office. ``There's no reason for the Boys Scouts to sell a beryllium ring.''

Beryllium is a lightweight metal used in the defense, automotive and electronics industries. Ryder said beryllium is not dangerous in a solid form but can cause incurable lung disease for people who work with the metal when it is mined, processed or converted into metal alloys.

Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, was not aware of any health concerns about the rings until Tuesday, spokesman Gregg Shields said.

He said the supplier of the rings informed the group recently that it was changing the makeup of its Eagle Scout academy-style rings, but he did not know if the rings would still contain the metal. He also did not know the name of the supplier.

Cleveland-based Brush Wellman Inc. is one of the world's largest producers of beryllium products and manufactures the metal at several of its U.S. plants.


                  
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